Creating rosters can be a complex task. This is especially the case for difficult large workforces with a range of employee preferences, combinations of full time, part time and casual team members, the need to adhere with EBA rules, fatigue, skills and competence requirements , meeting or exceeding customer service levels while always operating efficiently and controlling costs. Clearly, producing a ‘good’ roster is more than making sure there is the right number of staff for the right amount of work.
So, on top of all of this what does a team friendly roster look like and what are the benefits to employers and employees?
A Friendly Roster
An example of what makes a team friendly roster.
Sarah is the Workforce Planner for the local hospital Emergency Department. She is tasked with organising and preparing the Doctors rosters which she does a month in advance for a 2 week working period. The roster parameters require each Doctor to work a specific amount of ‘unsocial’ hours covering morning, afternoon and night shifts. Sarah always does her best to consider the Doctors preferences for specific days off some of which are always the case and some are new requests each period for example to get a mid week night away to see Hamilton in Sydney or an afternoon off for the school swimming carnival.
Sarah completes the roster by hand creating a compliant roster with all shifts covered and accommodating as many preferences as possible in as fair a manner as she can. However, is it always a ‘good’ roster from everyone’s perspective?
While a ‘good’ roster will vary from business to business and even with respect to each employee depending on their individual circumstance, one aspect of ‘good’ roster from an employee perspective can be defined as being fair and equitable – team friendly. For example, while Sarah may have created a functional roster that ensures the ED department meets the service level requirements, Dr Brown might have worked the past 4 Saturdays in some capacity impacting on his ability to watch his children’s sports while another team member may have worked an equal amount of hours but more night shifts than other team members. Although on the surface the roster was compliant and functional, it is not considered a team friendly roster given the unfairness and lack of equality amongst employees.
In addition, there may be team members who prefer to work weekends, others who prefer nights, some who only work 3 days a week and still others who might be spouses and who cannot work at the same times as their partners – so that someone is home with junior.
Further, the roster needs to consider patterns of work – moving from morning to afternoon and onto night shifts with then a number of days break.
This gets complex quickly!
A team friendly roster will consider all of these different preferences and requirements and provide shifts which are equitable and fair in providing each team member with the same proportion of night or weekend shifts (unless of course they prefer these) and evenly meets as many of their time off requests as possible.
Adopting a team friendly roster has many benefits to both employees and employers. These include:
Better work-life balance
Your workforce will be made up of a range of different people with different interests and commitments outside of work. Commitments such as family, study, and sport for example. A study conducted by Gallup Reports found that 53% of employees said that an improved work-life balance was important to them. With a fair and equitable roster these other commitments and interests will be accommodated to the fullest extent possible, making work rosters more manageable and providing employees enjoy an improved work-life balance.
Improve staff retention with a balanced roster that is considerate of staff preferences and importantly fair and equitable across the team. There are many factors that contribute to employees leaving, such as career advancement, pay and benefits but also the nature of the rosters they are repeatedly asked to work. Employees have shown to be happier when they are able to balance both work and life commitments and are treated fairly resulting in employees desire to stay in that job. This is especially important when retaining skilled staff or staff with experience that is hard to come by. By ensuring rosters are fair and equitable across all employees you will reduce conflict and ensure no employees feel stuck with the ‘unsocial’ shifts.
Biarri Workforce provides open and flexible rules and preference capture functionality so hard or soft constraints and preferences can be considered in the roster creation and the powerful roster optimisation engine in Biarri Workforce allows the Sarah the workforce planner to set the roster objectives and generate team friendly rosters automatically in a matter of minutes.
By using Biarri Workforce, you will be able to improve work-life balance for your team members and ensure your roster is fair and equitable.
Speak with a consultant today and see how Biarri Workforce can improve the way your business coordinates your human workforce. Whether you are currently rostering manually or looking for a more accommodating solution, the team behind Biarri Workforce are dedicated to making Biarri Workforce work for you.